When you think of the Midwest, farms, and cows might pop into your head. There are many successful industries here like dairy, cattle, high tech companies, and the one that is mostly overlooked more than any other: sex trafficking. The Midwest is known as a great place to live, but lately, that perspective may start to change.

Sex trafficking is one of the biggest industries not only in the Midwest, but in the United States as a whole. Out of human trafficking all together, 81% of those are sold for sex. Two of the biggest hotspots for sex trafficking are Chicago and St. Louis. Also, with having interstates and major highways common in rural areas, this gives the trafficker a quick get-away after they snatch you up.

Why the Midwest though? Well, the Midwest is a safe, and wholesome place. Growing up in a small town myself, I know firsthand that these are tight-knit communities. Everyone kind of knows everyone, and you lower your guard because everyone kind of trusts each other. Some of the traffickers are even people who they trust in their community.

I love to run, especially outside, but I don't do that anymore unless I'm in a public place because I'm scared I'm going to be snatched up. Even when I am in a public place I carry pepper spray when I run. I've seen on twitter that people are being targeted by traffickers like being approached at a bar by someone and giving you money, and then following you home. Or having someone ask you for directions while on the sidewalk from their car and snatch you in quick and drive away.

To be honest, this is kind of a nerve wrecking time to be a woman. I've come to trust no one and am skeptical of how some people may be acting towards me because, in all honesty, I'm pretty scared. Ladies and gentlemen (because this happens to them too, just not as common) please, please, please be careful. If you have a weird feeling about something, or it doesn't seem right, trust your gut, and contact the police.

Choose to be safe, rather than sorry.